Almost all of us have been touched by sickness in our lives, whether a friend, family member or even ourselves, we have all felt the gut-punching helplessness when a diagnosis is spoken out loud. Every fibre in your being wants nothing more than to fix it,
to jump into action!
to do everything you can to
…you’d change every fundamental part of your being if it’d mean saving that person.
So why, when faced with the climate crisis, does it feel like many sit, twiddling their thumbs, while we condemn the world as we know it to die?
Re.spire came as a culmination of my life’s (so far, hopefully) experience in art, social anthropology, botany and medicine, and the ever-increasing apparentness of our interconnectedness with the natural world.
After years of research in the highlands, I began to find similarities between mosses and the organs within our own bodies, Sphagnum, peat-moss, acting much like the lungs within our own bodies, culminating in my painting Re.spire. A piece that I hoped would challenge the dichotomy of the culture we had been brought up in; of the natural world being a commodity,
something to own,
…and not something that is so
We don’t just depend on the natural world like the human body depends on air in the lungs, but we depend on it for the air in our lungs.
So, when in June 2022, two months after the completion of my painting, Andrew Harding, in an article for the BBC proclaimed peatlands in the Congo as
“the Lungs of Humanity”
I felt both validated and cheated! Despite my pride being stung over my “originality”, the painting means more now than ever before.
We are fortunate enough that our peatlands here in Scotland are protected; making up a 20% of the total land, hold a whopping 1600 million tonnes of carbon. But this is not the case for peatlands all over the world including those in Congo, where a staggering 30 billion tonnes of carbon are stored.
30 billion tonnes of carbon that are threatening to be released into our already saturated atmosphere due to “development”
It is this kind of disillusioned thinking
We can no longer think of Nature as being “Other” to us.
What took millennia to build could be destroyed in a matter of months, projecting us forward 20 years in the current climate forecasting. A “Carbon Timebomb” as the Guardian put it. How can we call it “development” when it means the destruction of entire eco-systems, and rising water levels, which will ultimately mean the destruction of our communities and the displacement and death of hundreds of thousands of people.
The planet is sick, we are the cause, but we also hold the cure. So what if we were to disrupt this dichotomy? If we could see the natural world as being an extension of ourselves, would we fight harder to save it?
Follow this link to my instagram to see the Reel of Re.Spire's creation: